Senior mission officer was a personnel designation assigned by Starfleet giving complete authority over a mission, including away teams, to a specific individual.

In 2364, Starfleet appointed Admiral Mark Jameson as the senior mission officer for the USS Enterprise-D's mission to Mordan IV, as he had negotiated for the release of 63 passengers that Karnas had taken hostage in 2319 and was familiar with tunnels underground on Mordan IV. Jean-Luc Picard remained in command of the Enterprise though. (TNG: "Too Short a Season")

A similar arrangement was made in 2370, when Admiral Erik Pressman was put in command of the overall mission to locate the USS Pegasus, while Picard remained in command of the Enterprise. (TNG: "The Pegasus")

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